RLG205 - Lecture 10

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Published on 27 Sep 2011
March 26 th
, Lecture 10: Bhakti, Islam in South Asia, Sikhism
- Focus on Bhakti
- Have heard it in the Gita
oIt says: Devotion that one performs to god – a loving relationship
oDefinition: loving participation with god
- Bhakti is really important in south Asian religions
- There are very important historical movements in the 2nd millennium
- A different b/t bhakti as a category and bhakti movements
- EXAM: focus on hymns (A.K Ramanujan, "Afterword")
- Traditions, communities and literature based on bhakti – aka. Bhakti movements
- A.K says,
oUses a linguistic analogy to talk about shift in bhakti movements
oThe great concintental shift
The shift is systematic – begins in a small place and spreads in waves
– does not replace any traditions
Do not throw out the old – but get a shift that begins in a single place
and keeps spreading
- Change occurs in any society, like religion - like a wave – bhakti becomes really
- Bhakti in Gita
oBhakti – yoga
o2nd half of the Gita is devoted to Bhakti
oSet of practices – focused on some of the ethical principles – like dharma
oTheistic tradition – a god
Important to focus on the Gupta period
The Gupta’s were Vaishnava’s devotees
They laid the ground for theistic Hindu practices for the Bhakti’s
oThis doesn’t displace other forms of practice
- The first bhakti literature in a Tamil literature
oBy srivaishvanas – called: Tiruvaynali
oSame level as the Veda – by god himself
oBhakti poetry – is a love poetry to god – can be erotic, devotee has a
parental relationship with the god --- an intense relationship with god, not
just philosophical
Miracle poetry
- A.K. describes the story of bhakti
oHe’s a modern scholar who defines bhkati
Bhakti is neither ecstasy (vision of god) or instasy (
Not content to the worship the god or the theology – but needs to be
Uses the word “vari” in Tamil – crazy possession
- Possession? What is it? Is it limiting to the category (leaves certain things out? Or
shed some light?)?
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